Originally posted by Born to Learn
We came across two great videos made by Microsoft Certified Trainers, in which they both share their take on the new MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) and explain what the changes mean to MCITP. We (Microsoft Learning) made the announcement, but it takes Microsoft Certified Trainers to really break it down for you. Watch and listen to both as they're two very different styles but equally informative.
Thank you to Doug Bassett and Michael Murphy for the videos and messages, and hat tip to Chris Avis (we found Michael's video via Chris' blog).
You can see view the videos on the Born to Learn blog here
Today’s students are raised on multimedia. They absorb information fast when it is visually presented. Bing helps teachers search for engaging content that can improve student learning.
The best comes first Bing presents the richest, most useful result to your search query, front and centre. Bing summarises the site and offers time-saving links that let you jump directly to relevant content such as a colourful slideshow of the country.
Look before you click Let Bing lead you to compelling content and keep clicks to a minimum. Simply hover your cursor on an interesting search result, and Bing gives you a Quick View and helpful summary of the site. So you can judge its quality before you click.
Improve your lessons Can your lesson use a lift? Bing can help infuse any subject with new energy. Use Bing to help find compelling content that can improve student learning - and make it fun.
Starting today, Microsoft Office 365 for education is available, providing the world’s best productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost.
“The cloud and online learning are key trends transforming education today. Office 365 for education delivers a holistic collaboration platform that will change the game,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education, Microsoft. “As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, we are offering enterprise quality technology for free that will modernize teaching practices and help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
At BETT 2011 we announced that Office 365 would be coming to our education customers – an upgrade for the current Live@edu service used by over 22M users worldwide. Over the last few months some of our early adopter customers, including University of Dundee, Westminster University and The Schools Network (formerly SSAT) have been deploying this upgraded service and they’re really happy with the results.
“The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email” Tom Mortimer, Director, Information and Communication Services, University of Dundee
“The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email”
Tom Mortimer, Director, Information and Communication Services, University of Dundee
As of right now education institutions can sign up for the Office 365 for education 30-day trial for free via the Office 365 website.
Office 365 allows schools to teach from virtually anywhere*, reach more students, teach software skills employers are looking for and provide enterprise-class tools that reduce IT costs.
Students can engage in ad-hoc instant messaging or video chats to collaborate on class projects in real time, regardless of where they are working or on what device. They can create documents with Office Web Apps that provide the same features as the desktop version of Microsoft Office, share class notes by synchronizing OneNote notebooks, and create digital portfolios.
Teachers can create curriculum, record lectures and publish them on online class sites in the cloud where students are able to view, open, produce, edit and share their homework. Office 365 provides new ways to extend classroom teaching time and distance learning, tutor students online, and whiteboard ideas.
Educational institutions and parents will get peace of mind knowing students’ content and personal data are protected and won’t be scanned for advertising purposes, thanks to a rich set of privacy, security and protection capabilities that adhere to federal laws.
School IT departments can save money and free up more critical time by counting on Microsoft to manage routine tasks such as applying server updates and software upgrades. With the influx of digital content, datacentre demands and lessened and with 25GB mailboxes, people won’t be forced to purge files.
*An appropriate device, Internet connection, supported browser and/or carrier network connectivity are required. Data charges may apply.
Education institutions currently using the Microsoft Live@edu platform will be upgraded to Office 365 beginning this summer.
Originally posted on UK Education Cloud Blog
Just a few hours ago Office 365 for education launched around the world so we thought it might be a good time to give you a quick tour of what you can expect to find. So, sit back and relax as my colleague Damon introduces you to Office 365!
Don’t forget that you can sign up for the 30-day trial absolutely free which will give you the chance to experience this first hand. Just head over to the new website at http://education.office365.com to get started.
Originally posted on the UK Education Cloud Blog.
It’s less than 48 hours since Office 365 for education launched around the world but already I’m building up a nice list of frequently asked questions, first of which is “what happens when my trial expires?”.
Every Office 365 for education customer has to sign up for the 30-day trial before they get access to add extra licenses. This is so we can verify that you’re an eligible academic institution. To get you started we provide 50 trial A3 plan licenses; if you go to the licenses section in the Microsoft Online Services Admin Portal you’ll see something similar to this:
Once you’ve verified your eligibility you’ll get access to the purchasing section to be able to add in more licenses. There are several to choose from:
You need to purchase the licenses you want to use with your users from this portal as the trial licenses cannot be extended. At the end of trial period, if you’ve not purchased any additional plans, your trial licenses will expire and you may lose access to some of the services.
Unlike Live@edu, where there were no plans, Office 365 for education offers a number of different plans and prices to suit your requirements which is why you must choose which plans to purchase; we don’t make that decision for you.
Once you’ve purchased the licenses you need you’ll see in the billing and subscription management section that you have a number of subscriptions running, including the original trial licenses that will expire 30 days after signing up:
When you go to manage one of your users you’ll be able to assign the licenses you’ve purchased and can disregard the trial licenses:
If you’ve not already, you can sign up for the free 30-day trial of Office 365 for education at http://education.office365.com and get started with your deployment today!
Have you signed up for the trial?
Tell us what you’re planning to do with Office 365 for education in your institution in the comments!
It’s important that a school sees its ICT not as a drain on the budget but as a contributor to efficient and cost-effective learning.
In our first Cost Saving eBook, we started out by urging network managers not to allow their department to be seen as a drain on precious resources. They have to present it instead as a value-for-money driver of efficiency for the whole institution.
It’s a case of moving the school leadership from this –
‘Information Technology costs us money, and we’re living in hard times.’
To this, ‘We’re living in hard times and information technology can save us money.’
It’s a change of mindset, from technology as a cost to technology as an investment. The aim is for the school’s leadership to make that change, but before that can happen, the people immediately engaged with ICT, such as network managers and ICT leaders, have to believe in it themselves.
That means doing the research, learning and knowing exactly how, when and at what cost (if any) your school’s ICT resources, plans and policies can be deployed, or changed for the maximum impact on your school’s budget. We, with our Microsoft Partners, can help you with that, and if you read this eBook first, you’ll have a good idea of the right questions to ask.
We have partnered with the Guardian to make our new 'Cost Saving in Education' eBook exclusively available within their Teacher Network until the end of September 2012. The eBook can be viewed/downloaded directly via the Guardian's Teacher Network download centre.
We would love to hear what you think!
A round-up of this weeks posts!
Have a great Sunday!
Following on from our day in the life of a teacher post last week, here’s a nice infographic showing the student experience of working with Microsoft Office 365 versus using Google apps.
Whether you are a school’s IT leader, an educator, a parent, or someone who values learning, you know students and care about their success. Successful students are excited about learning, are well-organized and make good use of their time.
With Office 365 for education, this secondary school student works anywhere. He prints an assignment at home without worrying about formatting issues, and reviews a presentation without Web access on his way to school. At school he jumps right into learning, taking notes in all of his classes and organizing them in a digital notebook. He welcomes group projects, because the entire group is excited in using the latest tools, sharing information from their Office 365 desktops, brainstorming with an online whiteboard, and keeping a strong pace in video call discussions.
Working with Google Apps is frustrating and limiting. The student can’t review his latest work without Web access. Working with Google Apps, he captures notes in separate documents and cannot tag or search among them to find critical facts he needs for his term paper. He doesn’t have today’s capabilities to work seamlessly in group projects with online whiteboards and video calling.
Learn which tools you would want your favorite, hard-working student to use. See what this student’s experience is like using Office 365 versus using Google Apps.
Originally posted on Why Microsoft.
*Updated post from last week - content added
This is the fourth instalment from the Building Networks for the Future series, written with Stuart Wilkie from Marine Academy Plymouth. Stuart takes us through use of a technology which has been used in industry for years, and is now making an impact in the Education Sector.
In the earlier parts of this blog series we covered how the upgrade of "traditional” ICT suite machines, and how virtualisation has the power to improve your server system. We also touched on how you can also virtualise applications using the App-V framework, to add further flexibility to your desktop deployment.
Thinking right back to the first article, where we were planning what to do - the decision was made to deploy new laptops (kindly provided by Stone), to negate the need for classroom “teacher computers”. This gave us a good quantity of legacy equipment. The problem was that now, although we had some “good specification” legacy, it was still legacy - and the last thing we wanted was to have a split Windows XP/Windows 7 estate. After all, XP is coming to the end of its supported life.
“Consistency was one of the big changes I wanted to make – to unify the experience users had, no matter where on the system they were. We wanted the same look and feel, with the same program set, and settings that followed you”.
The answer came from discussions though the TechNet Membership held by the Academy, and earlier “Beta” work that had been done. Because of these links with Microsoft, a test program for a new product called Windows Thin PC was suggested. This was previously known as Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs, when it was essentially a cut down version of Windows XP. The new version was based on Windows 7, ideal as it maintained the same look and feel and also contained all the same core features. These included, crucially; support for domain joining and group policy. However, "Thin PC" is a cut down system, and limited in its capabilities - so you can’t use it as a true standalone operating system. Instead, it is designed to “connect” to something else, such as Citrix or Terminal Services.
Terminal Services, now called “Remote Desktop Services” (RDS) is not new technology. In fact, neither is Thin Client! Use of both of these in schools for anything other than Server Administration by techies is, however. RDS has been a part of the Windows Server system since the NT days, when it was an extra install. Now, it is just a “role” that you can choose which has been the case since 2003. The Server 2008 R2 version though, adds a whole raft of extra functionality, and changes the playing field in terms of deployment and scalability.
RDS is designed to be split into its component parts, and spread across a number of servers. Teamed with the virtualisation power of Hyper-V (see earlier article) you have something truly scalable. You split the hosting (where all the programs run), from the web accessibility (yes, you can do that too, but more on that later) and the “brokering” (who connects where). Licensing is also handled as a separate role. A typical implementation often looks as shown. Leveraging Hyper-V for hosting the Remote Desktop Session Hosts (well in fact, pretty much all of the system) has two significant benefits. One of these is the snapshotting - a feature built into Hyper-V. This can be used as an obvious backup route. The second is the way you can let Hyper-V manage the memory usage. Dynamic Memory Allocation is a killer feature, allowing the hosted OS to “claim” more RAM as it needs it, and release it when it doesn’t. This is ideal for a varying workload such as RDS.
Now we’ve done a quick overview, lets deep dive into some of the setup. The basic Windows Thin PC and Session Host bit is obvious from earlier posts. You can just let SCCM (System Centre Configuration Manager) deal with that. It will do the OS install, and drop our basic application set on as well. Even the App-V “bubble” installations work on Remote Desktop Servers. There is a special App-V installation pack on the Microsoft Download Centre. When it comes to the power of App-V, this is even more attractive when combined with RDS. You are separating the application from the OS (which is 64 bit don't forget), so compatibility and stability is much improved - handy with frequently troublesome education applications!
What next? Well, it is time to sort out your “Broker” service. The broker deals with the “which user session connects to which server” issue – when you have more than one Session Host. You are using more than one Session Host server aren’t you? If not – it is well worth running at least two Session Host servers, even on the smallest of deployments. This means you can perform maintenance on one – while your users carry on using the other. Rather than repeat a how to guide on setting this up – here are a few great resources for this process…
You may be thinking why do I need to worry about setting up a Web Access server? Well, the joy of Web Access is in its title! Just think of what a VLE is supposed to be – the ability for students (and staff) to collaborate and work from anywhere, at any time. Nothing speaks true anywhere, anytime like being able to logon and get the same desktop and application set – from any internet connected computer.
Assuming you have followed the above guides, you will now have a fully functional RDS Farm. There are some “gotchas” here though. Make sure that you have chosen a Farm Name – something like RDS-FARM – which is used for all client access, and that you have set up DNS round-robining and the broker to use this name. The second is certificates. Certificates can be a bit of a pain if you are not careful. By default, when you set up a Session Host server, the connection certificate uses the Server name. Now, because you are using a broker and a single farm name – your actual connection could go to any of the other servers from the farm name (which isn’t an actual server). This will cause a certificate warning to show on the client, which is a bit ugly. To fix this, you will need to set up a local certificate authority (CA) on your domain. This is really easy to do though – and here are two great guides to get you going…
Then, once you have done this, a little bit of tweaking is needed to get your new CA to dish out a certificate for each of your Session Host servers. The process is nicely covered in these articles, although you will find plenty more around the internet too.
Following these will save you a whole world of pain with user adoption. This is particularly relevant when dealing with RDS from Windows Thin PC or Windows 7. Of course – one of the key benefits of Windows Thin PC was the domain joining ability. With this – we could then configure Single Sign On for the machines and Remote Desktop. What does this mean in plain English? When the user goes to the Thin Client, it looks exactly like a normal logon screen, and it is! They enter their username and password, and then the system will automatically login to the Remote Desktop using the same details – without needing to prompt them to enter them again.
To complete this even further, how about after logging in – the machine automatically runs the Remote Desktop without even showing the other desktop. Well, yes – this is exactly what Stuart has done. Back to the power of System Centre for this one; where part of the build of the machine runs a bit of script. This changes the way the system starts – “replacing the Windows Explorer”. How do you do this? Well, the details can be found here...
That’s not the end of the story though. What do you do about giving access to printers - for example? Normally, you would assign printers by Room – but of course, the Remote Desktop farm has no way of knowing which room the users are in (well – not unless you do something fancy with the connecting machine name). Well – this is where the changes to Group Policy in R2 can help you out. Here is the link you need - http://www.edugeek.net/blogs/thescarfedone/1012-managing-printers-remote-desktop-environment.html
This will work nicely for your Windows or Non-Windows machines, as all the processing happens on the Server system. For the desktop machines, since they are Windows based – we can do something even simpler. Like you would normally script the connection of printers at start-up or logon, the same rule would still apply to these machines. Remote Desktop options in Group Policy will allow you to control whether locally connected devices and printers will be transferred and made available in the Session. Perfect! This is also explained in the same article.
Of course – these same settings will allow your users connecting from anywhere to access their USB sticks and home printers through your Remote Desktop session too. Before the security conscious jump in – you do of course have control over this (for example what can be run) because all your usual Group Policies also apply in the connected session.
So – let’s get back to the new feature – Remote App. What is it? Well… think about wanting to just be able to quickly run one single application from a Remote Desktop Session. You want to do this, without getting the full desktop of the Remote Session – ie, for it to look as if the program is running directly on your computer. Welcome to Remote App!
And how do you set it up? Well, that is remarkably simple. You need to have already completed all the previous Remote Desktop steps, including Session Host and Broker – and for off-site working, you also need Web Access to be fully functional.
Then, all the rest of the real work happens on your Session Hosts – and this Microsoft Technet guide tells you all.
So there you have it – a complete overview, and pointers for how to’s on Remote Desktop in both the traditional desktop user experience sense, and the new-fangled single application sense.
If you have not yet read any of the previous posts from Stuart or would just like a recap, here they are -
Building School Networks for the Future - System Centre and Hyper-V
Building School Networks for the Future – Server Infrastructure ‘’System for the Future’’
Building School Networks for the Future – Deployment of Microsoft Windows 7
Know your own IT story from the start Most existing schools have a mixture of ICT provisions that, over the years, has organically grown in response to a succession of short or medium-term needs. New software and hardware added. New curriculum areas, departments, technologies, even whole new buildings appear. After a few years, what does the school’s IT landscape look like? What does your IT look like? Is it well integrated, transparent, and as future-proof as anything can be? Or is it, like so many, a rambling collection of assets that need continuous attention to keep going?
Where that’s the case, it makes sense to start the cost saving journey by making sure that you know not only what hardware and software you have, but how it’s funded, and what it’s actually doing for the school.
That way you can see exactly where you are, and have a baseline against which to measure future progress. It’s a case of being able to answer questions like this, and these are only a sample.
‘Exactly what software licences and licensing structures do we have? How and when are we paying? Will any licences run out? If so when, and what’s the follow up plan?’
‘What about those sixteen computers in the old library? Are they earning their living?’
‘Is the network infrastructure proof against all the new demands we might make?’ ‘What will need replacing/updating this year, next year, in three years time?’ ‘What’s the most heavily used hardware/software, and what is hardly ever deployed? Do we have figures on that?’ We could go on like this, but you get the picture. Look at your ICT through an outsider’s eyes. The aim is to be capable of answering any questions about it. If the information is not in the network manager’s head, then it should be easily accessible.
Our mission here is to help you make those good decisions, and reap benefits from the extensive efforts being made by Microsoft® to provide products for education which are both affordable in themselves, and also capable of contributing to across-the board spending.
To assist with this, and as part of our on-going series of eBooks, we have partnered with the Guardian to make our new 'Cost Saving in Education' eBook exclusively available within their Teacher Network until the end of September 2012. The eBook can be viewed/downloaded directly via the Guardian's Teacher Network download centre.